This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000
This is a shared entry with David Roy McCaughey
Sir Samuel McCaughey (1892-1955) and Sir David Roy McCaughey (1898-1971), graziers, were born on 27 November 1892 and 2 October 1898 at Coree station, Jerilderie, New South Wales, third and fourth children of David McCaughey (d.1899), a grazier from Ireland, and his native-born wife Lucilla Louisa Blanche, née Gell. Sir Samuel McCaughey was their uncle. Educated at Geelong Church of England Grammar School, Victoria, and at Jesus College, Cambridge, Samuel returned to Coree in 1914. Back in England, he was commissioned in the Royal Field Artillery on 13 September 1915. He served with the 46th Battery, 1st Divisional Artillery, on the Western Front and was promoted lieutenant in 1917. At the Scottish National Church, Chelsea, London, on 3 February that year he married Victorian-born Eleanor Una McKellar; they were to have four daughters and a son.
Home again, in 1919 McCaughey bought the remaining portion (65,000 acres, 26,305 ha) of Coree from his uncle's estate, and purchased the 9000-acre (3642 ha) Tongala estate (originally part of Coree) as a settlement for his wife. Coree merino stud (registered in 1922), based on Haddon Rig blood, and Coree Pastoral Co. Pty Ltd (formed in 1938) became noted for their high quality rams and merino clip. In 1952 Samuel and his brother Roy gave 24,000 acres (9713 ha) of Coree to the nation for pastoral research and training, in memory of Samuel's son and a nephew, both killed in World War II. The McCaughey Memorial Institute was run as a commercial enterprise by a trust administered by Roy, Sir Henry Manning and J. P. Abbott. Survived by his daughters, Samuel McCaughey died of leukemia on 29 January 1955 at Manly and was cremated with Presbyterian forms.
Like his brother, Roy McCaughey was educated at Geelong Grammar. He sailed for England in April 1917 and served with the Royal Field Artillery. On his return, he bought Coonong from his uncle's estate in 1919 and began improving its Peppin merino stud, established in 1907. In 1924 he purchased the famous sire Wanganella 9.1 (Ballymena) from the Austins' Wanganella stud at Deniliquin for a world record price of 5000 guineas. Coonong merinos, noted as heavy wool cutters, were soon sold throughout Australia. They topped the Melbourne wool sales 'for the day' in 1937, 1938 and 1947. Another of McCaughey's ram purchases was Uardry 4.312, for which he paid the top price of $11,550 at Sydney in 1966.
A further profitable venture was the establishment (1925-26) of the Coonong Beef Shorthorn stud at Borambola Park, near Wagga Wagga. Regular infusions of imported blood from Scotland (including a 3600-guinea junior stock bull in 1951) kept his Shorthorns at the pinnacle of the breed in Australia: between 1916 and 1953 Coonong won more Beef Shorthorn championships in Sydney than any other stud, including ten senior championships. At the stud's dispersal sale in 1959, 173 head realized £112,397, the top eight bulls averaging £1375.
On 28 March 1944 at Potts Point, Sydney, Roy McCaughey had married with Presbyterian forms Gwendoline Patricia Camille North-Hunt, née Whelan, a 40-year-old widow. In 1951 he and his wife gave a Commonwealth Jubilee singing scholarship (valued at £500 per year) for study overseas; they were selected to host (at Coonong) an intended visit by H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1955 Patricia McCaughey published Samuel McCaughey, a biography of Sir Samuel.
Roy McCaughey was a director (1928-58) and chairman (from 1950) of the Commonwealth Wool & Produce Co. Ltd. When the firm merged with Elder Smith & Co. Ltd in 1958 and Goldsbrough Mort & Co. Ltd in 1963, he chaired the New South Wales board until 1970. A director (1959-64) of the Bank of New South Wales and a council-member (from 1962) of the New South Wales Sheepbreeders' Association, he belonged to the Australian and Union clubs (Sydney) and the Melbourne and Australian clubs (Melbourne). With James Ashton and others, he was a trustee of Sir Samuel's estate. He was appointed C.M.G. in 1956 and knighted in 1963.
Tall, solidly built and hospitable, Sir Roy hated personal publicity. His collection of paintings included works by Sydney Long, Sir Arthur Streeton and Penleigh Boyd. According to an old friend, he 'never had a cross word for anyone, but he wouldn't stand any nonsense. The men at Coonong all thought the world of him'. Survived by his wife, he died on 13 September 1971 at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, and was cremated. His estate was sworn for probate at more than $1 million. He bequeathed $500 to each man in his employ.
G. P. Walsh, 'McCaughey, Samuel (1892–1955)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mccaughey-samuel-683/text19379, accessed 23 May 2013.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000